PEIA proposal includes 90-day fills for maintenance drugs

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PEIA proposal includes 90-day fills for maintenance drugs
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State and public school workers will now be required to get 90-day fills for prescriptions they take for high blood pressure and other chronic conditions in a plan passed by the state Public Insurance Agency Finance Board Thursday.

The prescription change is part of next fiscal year’s health insurance plan. It’s expected to save about $11 million a year, Finance Board Chair Mary Jane Pickens told MetroNews.

“That was one of a couple of options that was taken out in the public hearings. The other options would have resulted in more out-of-pocket costs which a lot of people felt negatively towards,” Pickens, the state Secretary of Administration said.

The finance board had to come up with more than $50 million in plan benefit cuts because of the rising cost of health care. Most of the amount will be gained through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for active employees.

Pickens said the finance board is faced with these decisions each year.

“This is the amount of money needed to be brought into the plan to make it work,” she said. “These are often difficult decisions and I think the board felt these were difficult decisions but they were simply decisions that had to be made.”

Non-state employees who get their health insurance through PEIA will see a six percent premium increase. Retirees face a four percent increase. Active state employees saw their premiums increase by 12 percent in July because the legislature put more money into PEIA last year which raises premiums for active workers under the 80/20 requirement.

Pickens said, even with the changes, she would stack up PEIA’s coverage to most all of those offered in the private sector.

“I’ve been exposed to what is available from commercial companies and I still consider PEIA a pretty good deal,” she said.

The changes are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2017.